The keys to building your physical power are so very important, and there being some real substance to them, they can’t be summarized in just one paragraph with a few bullet points. So give yourself the ten minutes it will take because these are essentials for your overall health and longevity. (Note: this is content that can be found in my book, “Infinity Health Manual“)
You only get one body in this life, so need I convince you of the value in what we’re going to talk about here? The reality is we’ve steered way off course in this modern day and age with what constitutes a truly powerful body. First, when I’m talking ‘power’, I’m talking about far more than just strong biceps, quads, and abs! Ha! It’s about a deeper strength that’s infused with an incomparable life-force that today is seldom experienced. The fact is, the majority of modern exercise is completely missing the big picture. I would like to explain why, and most importantly supply you with the essential keys to fix it; building your true physical power, that is.
Where we got off course
First, let’s consider that we humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years, but it’s only been relatively recently in our history, with the development of agriculture, that we’ve settled ourselves into villages and, ultimately, cities. Before that, we were nomads, traveling by foot around the countryside in search of food and moving with the seasons. As a result, our bodies adapted to this kind of physical activity. Today, with our modern lifestyles, we’re far less active than we previously were. The bottom line is we do a heck of a lot of sitting, both at work and at home. The modern way of life is not what our bodies were adapted for. And today we see the effects: a commonality of obesity and a host of other issues like heart disease.
The Big Picture
As I’ve always focused on in my articles, our diets are vitally important for keeping our bodies strong. Eating healthy is an essential start, but putting fuel in is only half of it. You’ve gotta pump the handle!..and in just the right way.
Building a fit body through the right exercise does extraordinary things for many aspects of our overall health. Improved strength supports joints and bones and, especially, the spine. The spine, after all, is a pillar of the neurological “superhighway” through which the brain exchanges vital information with the rest of the body, and, in turn, is how the body takes care of the brain. Strong body and posture keep that superhighway healthy.
Other benefits? The obvious one is that exercise boosts our metabolism, thus reducing the amount of fat stored in the body. Leanness alone is worth the moderate effort it takes. Exercise also circulates nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to organs and every part of the body, essentially making everything stronger and more resistant to injury.
Furthermore, strengthening your body helps to eliminate everyday aches and pains. Your body heals faster. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Many people shy away from exercise because of aches and pains, and yet there’s no better way to avoid physical discomfort in the long-term than by strengthening the body! Exercise fortifies the parts of the body around those everyday aches and pains, creating an incubating environment for the healing of the weak areas. Building core strength can lessen back pain, for instance. The increased oxygen-rich blood flow reduces inflammation so the body’s restorative healing life-force can get in there to work its magic. Done properly (as we’ll discuss), exercise essentially becomes physical therapy. I never stopped being amazed when I would witness this at the Ashram Health Retreat where I worked as a trainer for many years. People would experience six days of intensive exercise and leave with their everyday aches and pains gone, or at least substantially reduced.
I’ve experienced it firsthand myself. Years ago, I suffered from a variety of aches. Due to inflammation, I had plantar fasciitis in the arches of my feet, carpal tunnel in my wrists, and pain in my shoulders (thoracic outlet reduction). I went to a series of specialists, some of whom recommended various surgeries. At the time I was wearing braces on my wrists and doing virtually no exercise other than limping around my living room. Finally, a doctor said something startling. “You need to take those stupid things off your wrists and get to the gym!” I took his simple advice and worked with a professional trainer and my aches and pains all went away within a few months. I didn’t need surgery; I just needed to make my body stronger. The impact blew my mind. What a lesson!
Need more reasons to exercise? The data are overwhelming that exercise is a great stress-reducer—quite unlike anything else. Plus, it gives you a sense of achievement, helping to build your self-esteem. How’s that for true power? Not to mention that you’ll pick up some peace of mind just by getting outdoors for fresh air and sunshine, something tried and tested for millennia.
Most people who decide they’re not going to take the time to stay physically active through some kind of consistent exercise have no idea how powerful it can be reflected in the mind and body and what they are missing out on. They lack the comparative experience. But for those who engage in it, they know the benefits can be enormous. Bottom line? The value of exercise is in its ability to significantly enhance life-force, longevity, and happiness. Priceless, wouldn’t you say?
As many of us know, there are two general categories of exercise: aerobic, also known as “cardio,” and anaerobic which is generally load-bearing or the expenditure of energy in bursts, like sprints. You need to get the heart rate up with sustained aerobic activity, but you need to build muscle via anaerobic activity, too. By building muscle with load-bearing exercise, your body naturally burns more calories on a consistent basis. You’re building a bigger engine which requires more fuel! So the priority isn’t necessarily losing weight, it’s building power which produces a leaner body.
There’s one particular exercise that, for the money, is the most efficient in combining both cardio and load-bearing activity: hiking. After all, trekking up and down hills is just what our ancestors did. The distances we are capable of hiking are commonly underestimated. During the one-week program at the Ashram, we’d hike with the guests ten to fifteen miles a day for six days straight! And not everyone was always the most fit. But again, hiking this kind of mileage is what we are adapted to do.
….. to be continue on PART TWO….
This article was written by Billy Merritt.
Click HERE to Learn more about his work.
Mindful of Breathing: Mindful breathing involves focused attention on breathing. Notice how you are breathing. Notice slower breathing and fuller breaths. Notice your belly rise and fall as you breathe in and out. When your mind drifts away from your breathing, and it will, simply notice what caught your attention and gently shift your attention back to your breathing.
Mindful of Sounds: Following mindful breathing, focus your attention on sounds; soft sounds, loud sounds, nearby sounds, distant sounds. Notice your response to sounds. Notice if you are annoyed by a sound or judging a sound; then gently re-direct yourself to listening to sounds without judging. When your attention drifts away to a thought, notice what thoughts you were distracted by, and gently return your attention to sounds.
Meditation: The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to become more aware and accepting of internal processes; thoughts, feelings, urges, sensations, cravings, triggers, etc. Meditation is not intended for relaxation. People who are extremely anxious about internal processes or have difficulty sitting still may need to work up to a full session of 20 minutes, beginning with only 2-3 minutes at a time and working on other exercises more at first. The goal is 20 minutes of meditation two times a day. During meditation, if your mind drifts to thoughts about the past or worries about the future, gently re-direct your attention to the present moment. Mindfulness meditation is about staying in the present, not about achieving a heightened state of awareness or bliss (that’s transcendental meditation).
Mindful Eating: When eating mindfully, choose a place that is quiet and free of distractions. Before beginning to eat, look at the food. Notice what it looks like; its shape and size and color, and how it smells. Notice any internal sensations; salivation, hunger, urges before you taste the food. Now take a bite. Notice the taste, texture, and sensations in your mouth. Notice your chewing. Notice urges to swallow. Notice your swallowing. Notice your stomach as you swallow. Continue eating mindfully, noticing sensations in your stomach; feelings of hunger and fullness. Decide when you are finished eating based on when you are no longer hungry. Avoid eating while engaged in other activities, such as watching television, reading, or working. Notice feelings and thoughts associated with eating and urges to eat between meals.
Beginner’s Mind: Pick an object in the room that is familiar to you, then examine it with your beginner’s mind; that is, as if you have never seen the object before. Some people imagine they are an alien from another planet or an alien on another planet, seeing the object for the first time. Notice the shape, weight, texture and color of the object. Try to imagine what the object could be used for. As you continue to examine the object, do you notice anything about it that you may not have noticed before? When you put the object away, reflect on what you learned about the object that you didn’t already know. Consider what would happen if you approached other areas of your life with a beginner’s mind; people, places, objects, situations. How would these other areas of your life be the same or different if you approached them with beginner’s mind? What expectations do you now have that you would not have if you saw them for the first time?
Mindful of Thoughts: Once you are comfortable and have become mindful of your breathing, shift your attention to your thoughts. Become aware of whatever enters your mind. Remember that your purpose is simply to observe the thoughts that are in your mind without judging them. Observe thoughts as they come and go in and out of your awareness without trying to engage them, continue them, stop them or change them. Simply notice them. If you find yourself getting caught up in a thought, notice what caught your attention, then gently re-direct yourself to observing your thoughts. It is normal to get caught up in thoughts. When this happens, return to observing thoughts.
Mindful of Emotions: Begin by getting comfortable and becoming mindful of breathing. Think of an event in the past in which you experienced a particular feeling that you want to get in touch with; happy, sad, glad, scared, upset, angry, proud, embarrassed, etc. Remember the situation and imagine you are in the situation now. What do you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch? Notice what thoughts, feelings and sensations come up as you remember the situation. Pay particular attention to your feelings. Is there one feeling or more than one? Notice any urges to hold onto or push away your feelings. Respond to these urges with understanding. Notice how your body responds to the feelings. Is there tension anywhere? Sweaty palms? Racing heartbeat? Urge to cry? Urge to run or hide? Urge to fix it or make it go away? Simply be aware of your emotions without judging or trying to get rid of them. Re-direct your attention to just observing your emotions. Notice any changes in your emotions during this exercise. Do they change or stay the same? Get stronger or weaker? Return to mindful breathing before ending this exercise, as it can be a difficult one. This exercise can be done with moderate, less intense feelings at first.
Mindful of Physical Sensations: Physical sensations can be urges, pain, tension, hunger and racing heart. Begin to focus on sensations involved in your body as your body contacts the surface you are sitting or laying on. Notice the parts of your body that are not in contact with the surface. Notice the sensation of air on skin or a sheet touching the skin. Notice the air temperature. Notice any body sensations: urges, cravings, hunger, pain, muscle tension, racing heart, stiffness, cramps, body temperature, etc. Notice any thoughts or judgments you are making about your physical sensations; then gently re-direct your attention to your body sensations. After 5-10 minutes, shift your attention back to the sensations you feel as your body contacts the surface of your chair or bed, then focus on breathing.
Mindfulness in All Activities: We can apply mindfulness to any activity at any time during the day. We can drive mindfully and do household chores mindfully; meaning we are keenly focused on what we are doing at the moment. We can practice mindfulness in the shower, during a walk, in a park, at work, during exercise, in a store, in the Dr’s office, in the waiting room, while dressing, while playing or drawing, etc. When we find feeling of guilt about the past or anxiety about the future creep in, or unwanted thoughts, memories or cravings, we gently re-direct our focus to the here and now.
This article was written by Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN
Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden.
Getting it just right with the protein in your everyday diet will be reflected by many aspects of your health including your energy, longevity, and even your attractiveness (I’ll explain why below). Unfortunately, in this modern day and age, for the most part, protein consumption is ranking at ‘disaster-status’. The simple fact is the toll it’s currently taking on the majority of our population’s health is huge. This is why the info I have to offer you is critical. (I’ve trimmed this down from my book, Infinity Health Manual, to the most important factors for you, to make your next five minutes very well spent.)
Question – why exactly is protein worth our special attention in the first place? Because protein is the primary building block of muscle, ligaments, vital organs, skin, and essentially every cell in the body. You really are what you eat! That’s why. So I say let’s use the finest building blocks that we have available.
Unfortunately, as a species, we’ve made things complicated for ourselves, and our intake of protein is now a matter that desperately needs a shift. First, consider that for thousands of years, since our days as hunter-gatherers, our major source of protein has been animals. Before the advent of today’s food distribution, people could only eat what they could find in their immediate surroundings. Especially in the winter months, that could mean just meat and potatoes. But from our ancestors’ simpler days of hunting wild animals for food, we’ve gone down a different path. Today, our Western diet is plagued by poor quality meat—and lots of it!
Moreover, very definite data now exist that show a connection between the consumption of today’s animal protein and cancer and heart disease. Processed beef and pork have been newly classified by the World Health Organization as Level One carcinogens. That’s the same as cigarettes! Eek! Isn’t that nuts? And few people even know about this. Let’s consider this a red flag.
The Flaws of Modern Day Protein
The days of low-grade beef, pork, and chicken have caught up with us. This meat is definitely protein, but it’s the wear and tear on our overall health that comes with it that needs our attention.
Part of the problem is the type of saturated fats that come with animal protein. These are the fats that very definitely can raise unhealthy cholesterol—a separate book entirely. Even with the low-fat meat products, a little lard can go a long way, and not in our favor! I feel that the fats in meat are actually a big part of why we crave them. Ah, the smell of bacon many of us mysteriously appreciate. Because cutting back on all fat in our overall diet is a dominant theme, we eventually cave in and get our fat fix from animal products. But satisfying our need for fats with animal lard is akin to satisfying the sweet tooth with processed sugar instead of fruit.
Another consideration: meats are acid-forming. Quick lesson: our bodies seek to strike a healthy acid-alkaline chemistry that’s affected mostly by the foods we eat. All animal protein makes the body acidic (as does processed sugar, interestingly enough). An “acidic” internal environment ultimately translates into a decrease of calcium in bones and an increase of inflammation in tissues causing reduced blood-flow, which ultimately translates to a weaker body that simply ages faster than it regenerates. And in case you’re wondering, chicken is just as acid-forming as red meat, so you’re not really doing your body any favors by sticking with just “white” low-fat meat.
Additionally, metabolic waste from regular animal protein can accumulate over time in the gastrointestinal system. An eight-ounce steak isn’t eight ounces of protein, after all. A lot of it is indigestible animal matter which can build up in your large intestine and colon, slowly but surely weakening your digestive system, a vital pillar of your health.
Also, ever notice you’re tired after eating meat? Even just a chicken salad? This is because it actually takes a lot of work for your body to break it down to extract the protein. So if you do have any animal protein in your diet, you might want to consider limiting it as a dinner food.
But what about Fish?
I believe having a little fish in your diet can offer some overall benefits. Certain fish can be excellent food nutritionally and a far superior option to other meat products. One of the reasons is ease of digestibility. Another advantage of fish is the quality of fat. Remember fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids which have the exact opposite effect of the fats in other meat products. These fats actually reduce unhealthy cholesterol.
With all fish, be sure to go with wild-caught and avoid farm-raised fish. A lot of the fish today are farm-raised where the fish are crowded together, producing unclean conditions that require major amounts of antibiotics and pesticides. Even salmon labeled as “Atlantic salmon” is, more likely than not, farm-raised. If salmon or any fish are wild-caught it will clearly say “wild-caught” on the label.
If fish is a regular part of your diet, it’s also important to be aware of fish that are known to be high in mercury as well as other harmful contaminants. Fish repeatedly testing high in mercury include tuna (especially albacore, ahi, and yellowfin tuna; skipjack tuna is okay), swordfish, shark, grouper, marlin, and mackerel. I suggest avoiding these entirely. Stick with the options tested to be low-mercury. These include salmon, trout, tilapia, sole, and most smaller fish. Other seafood like shrimp, oysters, and scallops tend to be okay too. In general, it’s the large predatory fish that have toxic levels of mercury, even with freshwater fish.
As for the Vegetarian Lifestyle
If you’ve been thinking of trying a vegetarian diet, I say why not? Today, with the large variety of foods we have available year round, we can in most cases get all the protein and nutrients the body needs without animal protein. Or getting your animal protein exclusively from fish can be an excellent option too.
I feel it’s worth sharing that for two years I was on the “Paleo” diet, a popular diet that is quite high in animal protein. I kept to the better quality options like bison, elk, venison, and meats of similar nature. These meats are definitely better alternatives to the more common meats like beef and pork. Even still, at the end of the day, I found that the Paleo diet yielded much less energy and sense of life-force than a diet without these animal products.
If you continue to have meat as a regular part of your diet, it’s still good to take breaks! Going a couple weeks without meat, adding more plant foods in place of it, allows your body to go through its important cleansing cycles.
While we’re on the subject, I should say this. Many people take an ethical position on the eating of meat. In case you’re wondering, my role here is nutrition and so I’m going to keep within those bounds. I’ll leave the ethical question to each individual reader. Nevertheless, I do feel that a primarily plant-based diet with the right foods is the superior option for overall health.
Where to Find the Right Plant Protein
Okay, so where can you find the plant foods high in protein, the plant foods you’ll need in order to compensate for cutting back (or maybe even eliminating) meat? Easy. Vegetarian foods with a reasonable amount of protein include raw nuts and seeds, avocados, beans, edamame, eggs, and dairy. Protein supplements can also play an excellent role here. But beware of whey or soy based protein. They’re culprits of constipation, like eating glue. Hemp and rice protein have the potential to be awesome, depending on the quality of ingredients. And you may have guessed it; Infinity Protein is the elite and at the very top of the totem pole! Click here so I can explain why.
Note: don’t make this mistake frequently made by people cutting back on meat: replacing meat with pasta, bread, processed grains, and other starchy foods. You’re looking for protein, not tons of starch! As for my recommendation of how many grams of protein to have per day, I’d put this in the same category as counting calories. Unnecessary. Follow the suggestions above and there’s really not a margin of error you need to be given since your body’s tastes and instincts will be allowed to do the job they were born to do.
Okay, so here’s the big picture.
The Western world eats way too much animal protein (especially the worst kind!). Kind of like unhealthy sugar. But in the end, it comes down to a lifestyle choice. And who wants a lifestyle that includes foods that slowly make you weaker, little by little chipping away at your body’s overall health and life force? Not you or I!
It doesn’t help, of course, that beef, pork, and chicken are so prevalent. And few people know how high-impact this part of their diet can be. But now you do. If you’re starting to become more and more sold on the healthier proteins, then fantastic. If we’d collectively cut back on the common low-quality meats, we’d be doing something extraordinary for ourselves (not to mention the planet would have a sigh of relief too!). Yes, we have the hunter-gatherer in our genes, but we also have the option to live a lot healthier than our ancestors did— and longer too. And as we’ve seen, because of today’s availability of healthier plant protein, this can be easy to do.
Over the last 17 years, the Infinity superfoods and health protocols have become a powerful force, enhancing the lives of many thousands of people, and my wish is for you to be part of it. Lastly, if you’ve experienced the benefits of what I have to share, then please forward this to your friends and family since naturally they will experience the benefits, too.
This article was written by Billy Merritt.
Click HERE to Learn more about his work.
Below you will find a sample of the diet that I was on for about two years before I competed with WBFF – World Beauty Fitness and Fashion. This dietary system, combined with weight lifting, can be of great help for losing weight, staying in shape, and building muscle and strength. But as I have mentioned throughout my book, Fit for Joy, this type of regiment mainly focuses on the physical body, which is only one aspect of our being. We are so much more than just our bodies! The approach to fitness that works the body in isolation from our mind and our spiritual heart is not what I do today, professionally or personally. My work at the moment is about integrating conventional physical fitness with spirituality.
These meal suggestions are only to illustrate what my personal journey was like. They are not approved meal-plan recommendations.
BREAKFAST Option One
8 oz cold water with a probiotic supplement
1 tablespoon matcha green tea + ½ lemon
1-2 whole eggs
BREAKFAST Option Two
1 salmon filet oven-roasted with coconut oil
BREAKFAST Option Three
Steel-cut oats, almond milk, berries
Any lean meat of your choice: white fish (sole, cod, flounder, or halibut), grass-fed red meat, tuna fish, wild salmon, chicken breast, turkey breast, sardines in water.
Eat with steamed veggies or a green salad.
Avoid sauces; instead use olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and avocado oil for salad dressing.
Snack - Best Options:
1 tablespoon spirulina shake with ½ oz. frozen organic berries and a teaspoon of coconut oil
Green juice (no fruit added)
Protein shake (whey protein)
Nuts (walnuts, macadamias, pecans, Brazil nuts)
Raw coconut flakes
Celery, cucumber, or carrots with almond butter
Kale chips or dried seaweed
Raw cheese (unpasteurized)
Sweet potato chips (homemade)
The same options as lunch
*Important – Avoid:
All sugar and sweets
Regular fruit, except for berries and green apples
Starchy carbs such as pasta, bread, rice, wheat wraps, white potatoes, etc.
Kombucha drinks or tea
All kinds of tea, but especially green tea (no sugar added)
Coffee (no sugar added)
Sleep 8 hours or more per night
Drink a gallon of water every day, as well as green tea
All vegetables and fruit should be organic
Adding lemon to your meals is great – it alkalizes the body
You can have a small piece of dark chocolate 85% cacao or higher, but not every day
Use stevia powder as the only sweetener
Many of us feel compassion when preparing or eating animal flesh, and some even reject meat at childhood. This is not an accident. We all live in different spiritual realities and levels. What is interesting is that those of us who have had profound spiritual experiences often don’t trust them to be real. I believe this is because we are too immersed in, and attached to, our physical reality. We are basically in denial of the interconnectedness of our reality.
The way I see it, food cravings (though certainly not all of them) are directly connected to anxiety and fear. This may be because the mind has associated happiness with pleasure, and since pleasure and pain are closely related, suffering becomes a tasty experience. The body, on the other hand, craves food and sex for self-preservation and perpetuation, not pleasure. It’s interesting to notice that only the heart is rooted in love and kindness. It has no cravings that can cause us suffering. The heart cares for our being as a whole, and it also for others—happily and healthily embracing everything as a big family.
To be healthy is to be loving.
Yogurt can give you flat abs? Yes!
In a recent study, people who ate 18 ounces of yogurt a day, in conjunction with cutting their total calories, lost 22 percent more weight and 81 percent more belly fat than dieters who didn't. They also retained one-third more calorie-torching lean muscle mass, which can help you maintain weight loss. Fat around your waist produces the hormone cortisol, which tells your body to accumulate even more belly fat. When you eat yogurt, the calcium signals your fat cells to pump out less cortisol, making it easier for you to drop pounds, while the amino acids help burn fat.
I eat three tablespoons of Greek yogurt for lunch every day (as a snack too!). Well, this is not just plain yogurt. See my recipe below.
This meal gives me extra energy and keeps me full for a long time. It's loaded with high-quality protein and antioxidants. I am amazed at how good it makes me feel and "look," haha. Make sure not to add sugar or fruit.
YOGURT GREEN-POWER RECIPE FOR FLAT ABS
- 3-4 tablespoons Greek yogurt - plain or zero (I use zero)
- 2 scoops Tera's Whey (Chocolate)
- 1 teaspoon spirulina
- 1 teaspoon matcha green tea
- Liquid stevia - from sweet drops (as much as you like)
Optional: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
Mix all ingredients well and enjoy!
Lean body guaranteed!
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